How much do you dread going on vacation just because you know the hell you’ll face when you return to work?
I know I always loved and hated going on vacation.
That’s because I had to kill myself to clear up the backlog of work so I could go on vacation, there were calls I had to field about work while I was away, I was worried about what was going on while I was gone so I was always checking in and finally there was the pile of stuff waiting for me to do when I got back.
It got to the point I started to dread going on vacation instead of relishing them as a chance to unplug and recharge.
The occasional disaster and the routine foul-ups drained any joy feeling I had from having gone on vacation.
That is until I learned how to fix my company and fix my thinking. I was the problem and I finally decided it was going to change.
Here’s how my brothers and I learned to not only take charge of our company but get our lives back one vacation day at a time:
- We created a detailed organizational chart (aka org. chart) that made it clear as to who reported to whom. It laid out all the boxes it took to run our company
- We then took the org. chart and created a depth chart which is what a football team has for 1st string, 2nd string and more. It’s how they replace the center if he gets hurt with the next guy who can snap the ball and throw a block. It shows us where we were weak and strong at any one position.
- We created bulleted job descriptions that explained what went on in each box in the org. chart so anyone filling that box knew what was expected of them in a shorthand way.
- Later on, we realized the big shortcomings of bulleted job descriptions so we ramped it up with detailed operations manuals for each box on the org. chart. This had much greater detail about how we do our work and how they would be judged as to doing well or doing poorly based on objective things.
- With the detailed operations manuals in place, we set up dedicated non-stop cross-train for each position which was based on the needs we discovered from the depth chart.
- We created appointments that were recurring on our master Outlook Calendar to remind us to get vacation schedules from all the staff early and block time for them to take only in off season and in a rotation.
- Finally, I learned to lie about when I was coming back to work by one day. I learned this trick because when I told the office I’d be back on a certain day everyone they spoke to was promised I’d call them that day which was nearly impossible. When I came back a “day early” based on my fib, I was able to get back to people over a two-day period. No one was upset that I called a day early. In fact, they were flattered.
Here’s one more tip. Try to arrange your vacations so you get back midweek. That allows you a couple of days at work during the week to catch up and the whole weekend to get ahead of things.
Take some or all of my advice, but most importantly; learn to love your time away … you deserve it!